This page is a work in progress.
The page contains a list of notes from books I've read broken down by topic. A sentence or two summarizes each book. Click the linked title to get the notes.
I have no idea how useful these book notes will be for you but they are immensely helpful for me. The notes are by no means all-inclusive and do not replace the book. It's simply a list of thoughts and ideas from the book that struck me as interesting at the time of reading. If I read the book again today, the notes would likely look completely different.
Walter Schloss shares stories and lessons from his life growing up in New York, getting his first job on Wall Street, enlisting in WWII, returning to work for Ben Graham, and successfully running his own partnership for 47 years.
My Own Story is the first volume of the autobiography of Bernard Baruch. Known as the Lone Wolf, Baruch amassed a fortune on Wall Street as a speculator and dealmaker, and later, as a lone investor before entering the public life managing the economic mobilization of WWI and advisor to presidents.
John Henry Patterson was an American industrialist. He bought a floundering cash register company and turned it into a global success while pioneering advertising, sales, and other business practices still used today.
Rich Cohen tells the story of a Russian immigrant, Sam Zemurray, who saw an opportunity in the banana business and seized it. Along the way, he out-hustled and out-innovated the giant of the industry, United Fruit.
Alan "Ace" Greenberg became CEO of Bear Stearns in 1978. His witty, humorous memos, covering two decades, set the tone, maintained morale, and repeated his simple business philosophy backed by common sense.
Donald Keough inverts the question "How to succeed in business?" He looks back on numerous mistakes in his sixty-year career and identifies common factors that led to business failure so you avoid the same fate.
Systemantics humorously describes how complex systems work and why they are far from perfect. The author's systems axioms, listing the possible flaws and failure points, are reasons why humility and skepticism, rather than confidence, are needed when dealing with systems.
Lessons From Century Club Companies breaks down 10 years of research to find the unique characteristics behind companies that have survived and thrived for over a century.
The book is about decision-making where uncertainty exists in oil drilling but it translates to other business and investment decisions where the questions are: Should I invest money? How much should be risked? Should the risk be shared with others?
John Brooks chronicles the 1920s bull market, its key players including Richard Whitney, the aftermath following the Great Crash of 1929, and how the events of that era transformed Wall Street.
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant relates the fictitious correspondence of John Graham, a wealthy Chicago pork packer, to his son. The elder Graham shares some timeless advice with his son on business, career, college, and life.
First published in 1873, Walter Bagehot describes the intricacies of the money market and, more importantly, the necessary response when managing a financial crisis.
Ferdinand Pecora was the counsel for the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency investigation in 1933. His book lays out its findings on the widespread speculative, and manipulative, stock market practices leading up to 1929 and the market crash that followed.
Thomas Gibson's 1909 classic breaks down the market cycles of the 1800s, the speculative behavior behind them, and the typical errors speculators make each step of the way.
The 1922 investing classic offers an introduction to new investors and sits as a reminder that the basic investment principles have remained the same over the past century.
The guide digs into the growing factor zoo to find the factor premia worth considering in a portfolio. The authors introduce five criteria any factor should meet, discuss the seven factors that qualify, and why other factors fall short of consideration.
The book looks at the persistence of the low-volatility anomaly throughout market history. The author explains why the anomaly exists and how to construct a portfolio of low-volatility stocks to take advantage of it.
The book tells the story of Peter Cundill's life and career. A chance reading of SuperMoney led him to Ben Graham's deep value approach, which he adapted for global stock markets.
Bharat Shah breaks down compounding machines. He points out the characteristics that drive companies to compound over long periods of time and the characteristics investors need to profit from them.
John Moody's 1906 classic is a guide to the hazards, mistakes, and lessons of investing in the early 1900s. It's a detailed account of how much, and yet how little, investing has changed over the last century.
William Green draws from the greatest investors to teach not only the lessons of their investment success but how those lessons crossover into how we make decisions in other areas of our lives.
Thomas Gibson's 1906 classic is the result of studying thousands of speculative accounts over a ten-year period. It sits as a timeless warning on the numerous mistakes investors make in the stock market.
The Davis Dynasty is a story about Shelby Collum Davis and his family. The author mixes Davis's story of how, over a 47-year investing career, he made a fortune with the market history he faced along the way.
Big Mistakes shows even the best investors make costly mistakes. It tells the stories of how some of the most famous, and infamous, investors failed miserably and the lessons we can learn from their biggest mistakes.
Gregory Zuckerman tells the story of Jim Simons and the brainpower behind Renaissance Technologies and the Medallion Fund -- the most successful hedge fund ever.
Arthur Crump warns of the many obstacles, behavioral and otherwise, speculators face in the markets. The 1874 classic sits as another example that speculating has been a difficult endeavor for a very long time.
Bogle's Enough draws from a lifetime of wisdom to reflect on the excesses of a financial system that led to the 2008 crisis and reminds readers of the benefits of a less greedy, long-term, client-first system (society) where success in life is defined by more than just money.
Deep Value explains, through numerous case studies and backed by data, why the counterintuitive approach of a traditional (deep) value strategy uncovers the most promising investment opportunities with limited risk.
Capital Account is a selection of reports by Marathon Asset Management. The reports introduce their capital cycle approach to investing and explain the impact the cycle had on businesses, markets, and investors during the late 1990s bubble.
Thomas Gibson warns of the repeated mistakes often made when people speculate in the market. The classic, written in 1923, adds historical context to what's been known for a long time.
Howard Marks's The Most Important Thing lays the groundwork for being a successful investor. He details the investment principles needed to tackle the complexity of markets and investing.
Howard Marks explains the pattern of cycles found throughout market history. An investor who understands the different cycles -- the history, the driving factors, their interconnectedness, and the role of psychology -- can avoid common errors and best position their portfolio for success.
Edwin Lefevre's fictionalized account of Jesse Livermore is a classic. It shares timeless principles on trading in markets while warning of the biggest obstacle that plague speculators and investors alike -- human nature.
Published in 1937, Ben Graham covers the basics of accounting and financial statements. It's a condensed guide on reading the balance sheet and income statement, explaining common metrics, and tips on how to determine the soundness of a company.
Seth Klarman's rare classic is about managing risk. Borrowing Ben Graham's primary concept for the title, the book expands on the value investing philosophy and why it's so successful.
The Buffett Partnership Letters are classic reading for any value investor. Readers get an inside view of Warren Buffett's investment philosophy -- seeing where it did and did not evolve -- early in his career.
Joel Greenblatt explains why the average investor has an advantage over the pros with this introduction to investing. He covers the different methods for valuing a business, the limits of mutual funds, how different index fund weightings work, the (mis)behavior of investors, and why a long term perspective is so important.
Gray and Vogel introduce the theory behind momentum, what drives the effect, why it should persist, and how to build an improved quantitative momentum strategy that exploits the sustainable edge in investor misbehavior.
Benjamin Graham's classic was first published in 1949. Graham wanted to teach investors the basic principles needed to navigate markets. In doing so, he teaches investors how to manage themselves.
Edgar Lawrence Smith set out to prove a theory, only to fail. But, in failure, he discovered that stocks had a hidden advantage over bonds in the long run. His work was published in 1924 and influenced the late '20s market boom.
Gerald Loeb takes the contrary view that preservation capital requires some level of speculation to earn a return high enough to overcome the inevitable "losses" investors will experience in their lifetime.
All investors are susceptible to behavioral mistakes that then leads to poor returns. Gray and Carlisle create a quantitative value strategy that exploits the typical investors' flaws while building temperament into the model.
John Ferguson Hume warns readers on many ways to lose money investing and speculating. The book represents a historical glimpse into Wall Street of the late 1800s and the timeless lessons of investor behavior.
Tobias Carlisle breaks down how investors like Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, and others take advantage of the powerful force in markets known as mean reversion, why it exists, the opportunities it creates, and how a deep value strategy captures it.
Fred Schwed delivers a cynical, sarcastic, insiders perspective on the business of Wall Street. His book stands as a timeless warning to investors and speculators alike.
G.C. Selden's timeless book describes the influence human nature has on markets and what investors/traders must do to overcome potential behavioral errors to be successful. It's as relevant today as it was when it was published in 1912.
John Kenneth Galbraith journeys through the recurring theme of speculative mania and financial ruin inherent in markets, His big picture view describes the common features associated with most euphoric episodes.
Concentrated Investing profiles eight investors with different investment styles to figure out the principles behind their returns. Was it due to their behavior, the source of capital, the number of investment, or position sizing? The authors answer those questions then look at what the data says.
The Zurich Axioms is a book about managing risk and reward. Twelve "axioms" define how to think about risk and uncertainty in such a way that you're more likely to be rewarded than not.
Joseph De La Vega's Confusion De Confusiones is the earliest known book on the trading practices of a stock market. Set as four separate conversations between three people, you get a sense of what investing and speculating was like in the mid to late 1600s.
Joel Greenblatt's Little Book delivers a crash course in value investing. He covers how to view the market, why most people fail to beat the market, metrics for quality and low priced stocks, and how his Magic Formula works.
Nick Murray delivers the timeless "simple truths" of investing that never change regardless of where things stand with the markets.
The Money Game is a series of stories on the games people play with money and markets. Told by Adam Smith (aka George Goodman), the stories uncover the emotion, error, myth, and irrationality that surrounds it all.
Based on a series of articles written for Barron's in 1927, Philip Carret writes an extensive introduction to the stock market, while laying the groundwork for market cycles, economic cycles, value investing, biases, and behavior.
Fred C. Kelly proposed that by acting counter -- contrarian -- to the general tendencies of most market participants, one avoids most typical mistakes, and succeeds at investing. Studying average investor mistakes presents a guide to future dangers.
James Montier writes about the many ways investors are their own worst enemies. The book concentrates on the many repeated behavioral mistakes investors inflict on themselves that negatively impact returns in the process.
Benjamin Roth was a lawyer in Ohio who realized early in the Great Depression that he was living through a financially significant time and wanted to learn from it. His diary recorded the effect the Great Depression, the economy, and financial markets had on people.
Will and Ariel Durant wrote the Lessons of History as a survey of human experience throughout history and the role human nature played in evolving and shaping civilization.
B. H. Liddell Hart wrote the book as a summary of the history of warfare. Rather than writing the lessons we learn from history, he inverts the message to the many lessons we fail to learn from history.
Humans handle uncertainty poorly. Richard Heuer explains how inherent biases in our thought process work against us, that knowing about the biases is no help, but processes can be built to improve critical thinking.
Ice Age details the history of the discovery of the cycle of ice ages. It covers the people behind it and what causes the Earth to cycle from extended periods of a cooler ice age to a warmer interglacial and back again.
Natural disasters shape the planet in many ways. The Big Ones details some of the biggest natural disasters in human history, how people were impacted, and how they responded to the randomness of each event.
Darrell Huff offers an introduction to the theory of probability that you can find in all aspects of life. He weaves in bits of humor and literature to explain the different concepts with real-life examples of coin tosses, card games, roulette, and dice that should help you avoid expensive mistakes.
Darrell Huff's book is about the long history of data deception. He explains the many ways data can be manipulated -- to misrepresent facts, to tell a different story -- in advertising, politics, and other areas and how to defend yourself from it.
Contains the notes on the Estate Planning study book material for the CFP Board Exam. Topics cover the many ways to effectively and efficiently transfer wealth regarding probate and around the gift and estate taxes.
Contains the notes on the Retirement Planning study book material for the CFP Board Exam. It covers the numerous qualified and non-qualified retirement plan options and additional employee benefits.
Contains the notes on the Investment Planning study book material for the CFP Board Exam. It wades through the absurd complexity of the U.S. tax code as it relates to individuals and entities.
Contains the notes on the Investment Planning study book material for the CFP Board Exam. Topics range from investment characteristics and risks, valuation basics, portfolio theory, and behavioral finance.
Contains the notes on the Insurance study book material for the CFP Board Exam. Topics include life, disability, health, auto, P&L, annuities, and Social Security.